The Appetizers Everyone Will Be Drooling Over This Holiday

‘Tis the season for festive gatherings, and the worst feeling is bringing a sub-par dish to the table. As we step into all things holiday, one of the key elements that can elevate any gathering is the art of crafting exquisite appetizers. From family dinners to lively gatherings, a well-curated selection of holiday appetizers for hosting can set the tone for a memorable celebration.

It’s time to dissect what makes the best holiday appetizers for hosting all of your friends and family. From artisanal cheeses to savory cured meats, we’re sharing recipes that will not only satisfy taste buds but also create a visually stunning centerpiece for your holiday table. Enjoy!

11 Holiday Appetizers for Hosting Your Seasonal Soirée

Holiday Bruschetta Board

Why We Love It: With deep shades of red from rich pomegranate seeds and touches of green from scattered rosemary springs, this holiday board is all you need for the best gatherings this season. Add on your favorite spreads, dips, and snacks—and bonus points if they’re seasonal ingredients!

Hero Ingredient: These slow-roasted tomatoes are to die for.

tinned fish board_holiday appetizers for hosting

Tinned Fish Board

Why We Love It: Tinned fish is a unique take on your traditional charcuterie. This board is quick and easy, with fresh veggies, savory cheeses, and of course, French bread. If you’re looking for a low-stakes board with a little something for everyone, put these ingredients on your shopping list.

Hero Ingredient: The tinned fish, of course!

dips & crudite grazing board_holiday appetizers for hosting

Dips & Crudite Grazing Board

Why We Love It: Sometimes, a board full of freshness is what my holiday menu is craving. This dips and crudite board is a little bit of everything—from homemade dips to crunchy nuts. These colors and light flavors are sure to serve as a stark contrast to all the sweets and proteins.

Hero Ingredient: Caramelized onions, in dip form? Talk about a no-leftover dish.

Green pea kale ricotta

Kale Pea & Ricotta Spread

Why We Love It: Talk about an elegant side—this kale pea & ricotta spread is the perfect bite-sized holiday appetizer. In addition to your favorite crudites, the spread itself is fresh and creamy—the perfect complement to heavier dishes.

Hero Ingredient: Ricotta brings this side together.

ricotta board with pears and pistachios_holiday appetizers for hosting

Ricotta Board with Pears and Pistachios

Why We Love It: For a holiday appetizer that uses minimal dishes (Score!), this ricotta board is a simple and quick way to curate a delicious variety of snacks for grazing. There’s something about the ricotta/honey/apple combination that never gets old, no matter the time of year.

Hero Ingredient: Pistachios give this board the perfect element of crunchy.

holiday cheeseboard

Holiday Charcuterie Board

Why We Love It: This holiday cheese board is one that won’t break the bank. All you need is a good serving board and some seasonal ingredients. When the weather is cooler, I like to add in a mix of hard and soft cheeses like gruyere, gouda, or creamy brie.

Hero Ingredient: Pomegranates or cranberries can add a festive touch.

apricot and brie tarte soleil

Apricot and Brie Tarte Soleil

Why We Love It: If your goal is to impress your guests, you have to try your hand at this tarte soleil. The pastry is filled with savory and sweet elements, such as brie, chili powder, and apricot preserves. It’s an all-around fan favorite that’s pretty hard to beat.

Hero Ingredient: Herbs are your friend—and we recommend rosemary and thyme with this beauty.

baked brie charcuterie

Baked Brie Charcuterie Board

Why We Love It: For all the Brie lovers, this charcuterie board makes the creamy cheese the star of the show. Pair it with other cheese favorites like gorgonzola or parmesan slivers to stand on-brand with a board full of rich cheese. Add in fresh and dried fruit as a sweet complement and slice a fresh baguette for the Brie board of your dreams.

Hero Ingredient: A drizzle of honey and brie go hand-in-hand.

spinach artichoke tarts

Spinach Artichoke Tart

Why We Love It: When it comes to appetizers for hosting big crowds, everyone goes crazy over pastries. This makes the holidays a perfect time to whip up some of your top tarts. If you’re a fan of spinach and artichoke dip—give this pastry a try for all of your hosting occasions.

Hero Ingredient: Sour cream makes this filling rich and creamy.

smokey eggplant dip_holiday appetizers for hosting

Smokey Eggplant Dip

Why We Love It: Every table needs a good dip to snack on before the main meal, and this dip is a top-tier option. It’s far better than any pre-packaged dip you’ll find at the store—loaded with spices and bold flavors.

Hero Ingredient: The eggplant is obviously the heart of this dip.

pesto parmesean potatoes_holiday appetizers for hosting

Pesto Parmesan Potatoes

Why We Love It: One can never go wrong with a plate of potatoes, especially when you’re covered in nutty pesto and rich parmesan flakes. Pro tip: when serving, add some caramelized and roasted garlic paste and a bit of zingy lemon to cut through the richness of the potato and cheese.

Hero Ingredient: Yukon golds are your best bet here, but feel free to use whatever potato you have on hand.

3 Holiday Appetizers for Hosting a Simple (and Festive!) Gathering

The holiday season always flies by, and squeezing in all the memory-making moments I envision for the holidays takes an intentional approach. One thing I always prioritize? Hosting a cozy night at home with our closest friends around the table. Sharing good food and great conversation during this season forges deep connections, and I promise—it doesn’t need to be stressful or blow your holiday budget.

Here’s my solution when you want to get friends together but are short on time: make a few of my favorite “lazy-fancy” appetizers, set up a self-serve bubbly station, and you’ve got the most festive night ever—no stress required. To show you how it’s done, I partnered up with my friends at Target to share my three favorite appetizers for simplified hosting. Every dish was made with Good & Gather ingredients I stocked up on from a single Target run. (Along with a few other “essentials” I had to have—IYKYK.) Plus, scroll on for a festive table that I set with a few of my favorite Target holiday season finds.

holiday appetizers recipes-citrus and olive wreath
slicing citrus

Citrus & Olive Snacking Wreath

First up is one of the prettiest appetizer spreads your friends have ever seen—and it happens to double as the simplest, most delicious grazing board for greeting them when they walk in the door.

This visually stunning appetizer is surprisingly easy to assemble:

  • Start with a variety of fresh citrus fruits from Target – think oranges, mandarins, and grapefruits, cut into slices or quarters.
  • Arrange these in a circular wreath pattern on a large round serving platter. Nestle in Good & Gather Olives, salted almonds, and slices of Manchego cheese.
  • The final flourish? A few sprigs of evergreen and rosemary for a festive touch. This wreath isn’t just an appetizer, it’s a centerpiece.
holiday appetizers recipes-citrus and olive wreath

Stock up on these:

holiday appetizers recipes-smoked salmon everything bagel board
holiday appetizers recipes-smoked salmon everything bagel board

Everything Bagel & Smoked Salmon Board

One thing I learned from my years working in catering? Everyone loves a smoked salmon and bagel situation, especially around the holidays. Transform this classic pairing into a stunning appetizer with the simplest Everything Bagel & Smoked Salmon Board—here’s how it comes together:

  • Start with a high-quality smoked salmon, thinly-sliced.
  • Arrange the salmon on a pretty platter with all the accoutrements: capers, fresh herbs, thinly-sliced radishes, and most-importantly: the most delicious Good & Gather Everything Seasoning Dip, and Everything Flatbread Crackers.
  • You can either let guests build their own, or you can fancy it up and create “hors d’oevres” by layering a small amount of each ingredient on a cracker and serving on a tiered platter. Either way, this board is a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds.
holiday appetizers recipes-smoked salmon everything bagel board

Stock up on these:

holiday appetizers recipes-spinach artichoke flatbread
holiday appetizers recipes-spinach artichoke flatbread

Wood-Fired Spinach and Olive Flatbread

Repeat after me: you do not have to reinvent the wheel with every appetizer! For a snacks spread, I almost always choose one store-bought item that I can “dress up” with a little food styling. This Wood-Fired Spinach & Olive Flatbread from Good & Gather is found in the freezer section and is already so delicious, it only takes a couple finishing touches to make it feel party-worthy.

  • Simply heat the flatbread as directed so it gets really crispy on the bottom.
  • Slice into cute little triangles that guests can easily grab while theyr’e mingling.
  • Add freshness with a handful of arugula and a drizzle of reduced balsamic.

Set it out on this beautiful wood serving board and let guests help themselves. (Pro tip: you might want to get a few of these flatbreads—they always go fast!)

holiday appetizers recipes-spinach artichoke flatbread

Stock up on these:

holiday champagne pomegranate cocktail
best holiday appetizer recipes

Toast the season

For holiday hosting, I’m a big fan of simple and festive punch recipes that you can mix up before guests arrive and then let them help themselves. This is one of my go-to’s since it’s ridiculously simple and guests always ask me for the recipe. You can double and triple it for a crowd, and even make a mocktail version by swapping the champagne for sparkling water.

  • In a pitcher or punch bowl, add 1 part cranberry juice to 2 parts prosecco. Add ice and stir well.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and pomegranate seeds.
  • Serve with sparkling water or more prosecco so guests can top their drinks off with more bubbles.
best holiday appetizer recipes

A simple but festive table

Throughout most of the year, I embrace the natural look of our wood dining table, but for a party, I always dress it up with a simple white linen tablecloth. Don’t stress about getting every last wrinkle out—the beauty of linen is that it’s casually rumpled. I love the organic, woodsy look of this faux evergreen garland from Hearth & Hand—and one of my favorite ways to use a garland is as a “runner” down the center of the table! It’s a simple way to add festivity without blocking the flow of conversation.

Then, I was ready to pop in the twinkling candlelight that makes every dinner party setup feel special. I think that candlelight is the quickest, most affordable way to give any gathering a magical glow, and I’m obsessed with these matte gold taper holders this year. When adding tall, sculptural elements like candlesticks to the table, I like to keep things a bit asymmetrical—and for added twinkle, feel free to tuck a few votives in among the greenery.

best holiday appetizer recipes
holiday appetizers recipes-spinach artichoke flatbread

You can shop the entire look on my Target storefront, where you’ll find all of my favorite Target buys for every space.

This blog post is sponsored by Target and contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support helps us continue providing helpful content.

20 Easy Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Appetizers to Put At the Top of Your Must-Make List

Of course, we go to parties to see our friends, but let’s be real: We’re also pragmatic play there for the apps. Snacks are a highlight of any gathering, especially when they can be enjoyed by everyone. But in today’s world, there’s a pretty good chance that you have at least one friend who doesn’t vibe with grains or another who’s strictly plant-based. When hosting, it can be tough to keep up with your guests’ dietary preferences, which is why we’ve rounded up the best gluten-free dairy-free appetizers to share with friends and family.

A grazing table is a perfect opportunity to mix and match a variety of different cuisines, flavors, and textures so people can personalize their plates however they please. While there can be so many options to choose from when it comes to starters, I have a fool-proof list of favorites I return to time and again that are safe for most types of eaters. The best appetizers are easy to prepare, taste great at room temperature, and are just as nourishing as they are delish.

Most of the recipes in this list only require a few ingredients, can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, and are all gluten and dairy-free, so they’re a safe bet for whoever comes your way. Scroll on for our list of the best gluten-free, dairy-free appetizers for your next party.

Featured image by Suruchi Avasthi.

Salads and Platters

White Bean & Raddichio Salad

Why We Love It: Sure, the garnish of Parmigiano Reggiano might take this app out of the dairy-free category, but one of our favorite things about salads (other than the fact that they make it super easy to get your greens) is that they’re entirely customizable. This salad balances a slightly bitter bite with a creamy texture. It’s proof that you should always ask more of your salad.

Hero Ingredient: Raddichio is the most underrated leaf vegetable in the game. Not only does it give this salad gorgeous color, but it makes it feel substantial while still, you know, being a salad.

Spring Crudité with Green Goddess Dressing

Why We Love It: If you’re craving color, fresh flavor, and veggies, this spring crudité platter delivers on all counts. You’re welcome to serve the vibrant, verdant green goddess dressing with any mix of raw and/or roasted veggies of your choosing. Need a little guidance? The more your platter mimics the rainbow, the better.

Hero Ingredient: To make this recipe dairy-free, we swap in plant-based yogurt in lieu of whole milk Greek yogurt. We love Cocojune, which gives a slight edge of coconut that’s nice with the lemon’s acidity and herby additions. Or, you can try CocoYo that’s wonderfully rich and a good source of probiotics.

Mango Salad With Rhubarb Ginger Dressing and Chili Almonds From The First Mess

Why We Love It: Mangoes are an ingredient I always like to throw into any salad-type dish. While some might think the fruit operates best in desserts and sweet dishes, we’d argue that they deserve their place in veggie-forward apps. Case in point, this stunner of a salad. The colors are bright and the entire dish delivers a whole lot of flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Chili almonds? Chili almonds. Pro tip: Double your batch so you have enough for spontaneous snacking.


Bhutta Street Corn Guacamole

Why We Love It: There’s always room for guacamole on the menu—particularly one that brings a whole host of flavor to our favorite classic app. Healthy fat-filled avocados, roasted corn, fresh cilantro, lime juice, and a blend of just-hot-enough spices. What’s not to love?

Hero Ingredient: The corn in this recipe adds a delicious heft to the texture and a satisfying charred flavor to this crowd-pleasing dish.

Carrot Turmeric Hummus

Why We Love It: While you can (and should!) feel good about snacking on any and all bites you put on your plate, this is one that’ll send your serotonin skyrocketing—especially when served with an array of colorful veggies. This hummus is also bean-free, so it’s a safe bet for anyone who might be sensitive to legumes, too.

Hero Ingredient: Turmeric does double duty, giving this dip both vibrant color and warming spice.

Edamame Dip With Mint, Jalapeño, and Lime From The First Mess

Why We Love It: Is it enough to call a recipe one of the best gluten-free, dairy-free appetizers based on visuals alone? Well, the good news is that this dip is aesthetically pleasing while also satisfying all your gustatory needs. Sweet? Savory? Spicy? Check, check, and check.

Hero Ingredient: Edamame is surprisingly buttery, and its sweet/nutty pairing is unmatched.

5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Delicious and creamy, this dairy-free queso might even win over your cheese-loving friends. It uses cashews, nutritional yeast, and hot water for the “cheesy” base, with a mix of delicious spices for some added flavor.

Hero Ingredient: I alluded to it above, but nutritional yeast deserves a spotlight all to its own. It’s key to making any vegan dish super cheesy. Minus the cheese, of course.

Cheesy Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Dip From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Let’s be real—any gathering is really just another opportunity to make spinach and artichoke dip. Rich and creamy, this healthier take on a classic dish is sure to cure your comfort food cravings—minus any post-indulgence discomfort.

Hero Ingredient: Artichoke hearts give this vegan dip heft and body while supplying a briny bite that perfectly balances out the creaminess.

White Bean Dip From Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: This recipe requires just four ingredients that you likely already have on hand: cannellini beans, lemon, olive oil, and garlic. Does cooking get much easier than that?

Hero Ingredient: Your lemons are the MVP of this dish. Using both zest and juice lends this dip insanely good flavor.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Dip From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: This is not your average bean dip. Starring sweet potatoes, black beans, and avocado, this appetizer is basically a mash-up of all of my favorite flavors in one bowl.

Hero Ingredient: Minced jalapeño may be optional, but if it’s that authentic kick you’re after, I’d encourage you to go all in.


Baked Sesame Chicken Wings From The Defined Dish

Why We Love It: Sweet and savory, these baked sesame chicken wings are gluten and dairy-free… and they’re packed with flavor. You’ll find yourself coming back to this recipe again and again.

Hero Ingredient: You can thank the fish sauce for the aforementioned flavor. Trust me—it ties the spice and sweetness together beautifully.

Chorizo-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates From The Defined Dish

Why We Love It: You need this appetizer at your next party. We consistently make a batch of these chorizo-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates for large-scale gatherings, and they’re always the MVPs of the night.

Hero Ingredient: I’m drooling equally over this recipe’s chorizo and bacon callouts. But honestly, with the welcome spice it imparts, the chorizo wins out.

Smoked Salmon Carpaccio With Fried Capers and Herbs From The Defined Dish

Why We Love It: Salty yet refreshing, this smoked salmon carpaccio with crispy capers will transport you to Italy after just one bite. Elevate your next grazing table with this beautiful, nutrient-packed dish.

Hero Ingredient: Capers are the briny, salty, flavor-packed gems that’ll make any savory recipe all the better.

Arrowroot Fried Chicken Nuggets From Megan Nash

Why We Love It: What is it about chicken nuggets that make them a necessity at every party? This chicken nugget recipe (created by my sister) is on the regular dinner rotation at our house, so trust me when I say these nuggets are simple, healthy, and hit the spot every time. Turns out, there’s no breading required to get that crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside texture that makes chicken nuggets such a hit.

Hero Ingredient: The secret to that crispy crust? The genius of arrowroot flour knows no bounds.


Blistered Padrón Peppers From What’s Gaby Cooking

Why We Love It: Blistered peppers are one of those appetizers that are best kept simple. Just heat up some oil in a pan, sauté the whole batch, and you’ve got a restaurant-worthy appetizer ready to go in minutes.

Hero Ingredient: Out of all the gluten-free, dairy-free appetizers on this list, this has to be one of my favorites. With so few ingredients in the mix, it has to be the Padrón peppers themselves. Their spice is subtly intense (it’s possible!) and slightly sweet. If you’ve prepared a similar dish with shishito peppers, expect a relatively similar result.

Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Wings From Rachel Mansfield

Why We Love It: When I whipped up a batch of these cauliflower wings for a football-watching party, they were gone in seconds. (Don’t worry, I guarantee they’ll be a hit served for any and all occasions.) They’re flavorful, easy to make, and best served with the yummy dipping sauce of your choice.

Hero Ingredient: This recipe is just another example of the universal truth: Cauliflower can really do it all.

Why We Love It: You truly can’t go wrong with sweet potato fries. If you have a knife and an oven, you’re already well on your way to making this standout recipe. These are crispy oven fries, mastered—and it’s a recipe that’s always a go-to when my fry cravings hit.

Hero Ingredient: Cornstarch is key to getting your fries extra crispy.

Summer Fruit Salad From Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: How gorgeous is this salad? Sometimes there’s nothing better than all of your favorite seasonal fruits on a platter drizzled with a refreshing vinaigrette.

Hero Ingredient: Upon first glance, this is a simple, humble dish. But incorporating grated ginger into your dressing plays up its sweetness while also weaving in a little welcome spice.

Game Night Crispy Potato Bruschetta From Oh She Glows

Why We Love It: This crispy potato bruschetta is the gluten-free version of your favorite Italian starter. By swapping out the bread for equally delicious crispy potatoes, you’ve made this dish plant-based in a snap without sacrificing flavor.

Hero Ingredient: A marinade that leans on balsamic vinegar for a figgy, complex flavor is always a winner in my book.

Grilled Vegetable Platter From Damned Delicious

Why We Love It: Last but definitely not least, a grilled vegetable platter is a simple way to healthify your next feast. Just throw your favorite veggies on the grill or in a pan and wait until they’re soft and slightly charred. You can’t go wrong!

Hero Ingredient: When it comes to a vinaigrette whose purpose is to coat your favorite veggies with plenty of herby, charred flavor, good, fruity olive oil is key.

This post was originally published on June 25, 2021, and has since been updated.

Make-Ahead Appetizers Are My Secret to a Stress-Free Gathering—Here Are 24 to Try

A gathering is best enjoyed when the host is involved. In the party, that is—not just the prep. Once you’ve spent time planning the event, the guest list, and the menu, the last thing you want to be doing when happy hour strikes is frantic, last-minute prep. If there’s one thing guaranteed to appease your guests in a timely manner, it’s easy make-ahead appetizers.

They’re a gift to hosts everywhere. There’s nothing like having food prepared ahead of time to mitigate the dreaded pre-party scramble. Couple that with make-ahead appetizers that are also relatively uninvolved, and you’ve unlocked the ultimate stress-free secret. The easy make-ahead appetizers ahead are not only beneficial to the host, but they’re sure to be enjoyed by everyone in attendance. There’s nothing more inviting and pleasing than having something to nibble on upon arrival. Does anyone else get a little hangry while waiting for dinner? Same.

Featured image of Ashleigh Amoroso’s spring happy hour by Michelle Nash.

Image by Michelle Nash

24 Easy Make-Ahead Appetizers for Stress-Free Hosting

Appetizer hour is almost always my favorite part of the evening. It gives your guests a chance to unwind, settle into the conversation, and snack on carefully-crafted offerings that can tie them over until the main event. So what are you waiting for? If there’s a small soirée, an all-out party, or a gathering of any size in your future, these easy make-ahead appetizers are sure to solve the stress of hosting.

From dishes you can thaw to ones you can toss in the oven day of—these aren’t your traditional dishes, but we’re sure you’ll adore them just as much as we do.

Salads and Soups

Simple Green Salad

Why We Love It: When it comes to appetizers, sometimes simplicity takes the cake. That’s definitely the case with this simple green salad inspired by the NYC staple, Via Carota. The punchy shallot vinaigrette creates the perfect blend of crunchy texture and tangy sweetness. If you’re in a pinch, prep the vinaigrette in advance. From there, this salad calls for only three simple ingredients.

Hero Ingredient: Toasted walnuts are a great way to add a nutty crunch.

Strawberry Caprese Salad

Why We Love It: Have you ever seen a more summery salad? Fresh juicy strawberries and extra-creamy burrata are the perfect complements for a world of flavor in every bite. This salad isn’t just delicious, it’s a stunning addition to any table.

Hero Ingredient: Burrata is not just a trend—it’s a lifestyle.

Why We Love It: This Italian-inspired aperitivo is the perfect way to kick off a meal. Bitter radicchio leaves are contrasted with creamy white beans and Parmigiano Reggiano for a salad that’s sure to impress yet so easy to make. You can prep the beans and lemon vinaigrette ahead of time. Once that’s complete, all that’s left to do is toss everything together. To take it a step further, you can slice your radicchio a few hours in advance and chill on ice to maximize its crunchiness.

Hero Ingredient: Those beans are next-level delicious. They’re cooked with olive oil, shallots, white wine, and chicken stock to seal the deal on flavor.

Why We Love It: Beat the heat with this tomato, avocado, and cucumber salad. It’s juicy, refreshing, and full of fresh, seasonal flavors. A perfectly ripe tomato meets vibrant cucumber, creamy avocado, and salty feta to create a salad both you and your guests will love. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Hero Ingredient: Pickled red onions take the cake, and their vinegary profile raises this salad to a new level.

Why We Love It: Make the most of late-season watermelon with this Caprese salad. It’s loaded with juicy melon, crisp cucumber, creamy mozzarella, and vibrant basil and is impossible not to love. This fresh salad sets the tone for a delicious meal and even better conversation. Mix everything together a few hours in advance to let those flavors come alive in the fridge.

Hero Ingredient: Don’t skimp on the lime juice. It’s the contrast of sour lime and sweet melon that finishes this salad beautifully.

Why We Love It: Crudités are a classic appetizer that guests of all ages will love. The recipe is loaded with fresh veggies and a classic ranch dip that’s tasty enough to make you want to lick the bowl. Seriously. You can also prep the veggies beforehand and chill them over ice until you’re ready to serve, which will keep everything perfectly crisp and bursting with juices.

Hero Ingredient: A dash of Tabasco in the ranch dip introduces a slight heat to complement the veggies.

Why We Love It: A four-ingredient appetizer that you can make in under five minutes? Yes, please. Fresh burrata is always a crowd-pleaser, especially when surrounded by nutty pesto, sweet figs, and crusty French bread to soak it all up. Fire up the grill for quick pre-party bread toasting that won’t keep you from your guests. Goodbye, FOMO.

Hero Ingredient: You can use homemade pesto or store-bought, making your prep all the easier.

Why We Love It: I don’t know about you, but in my book, cheese rounds are a staple at any respectable gathering. They’re classic, easy, and universally loved by all ages. Serving a mess-free snack lets guests grab a little bite to tide them over before the main event. These cheese rounds are completely textbook, with Rice Krispies, butter, flour, grated cheddar, tabasco, and cayenne to build the flavor and crunch.

Hero Ingredient: I like my cheese rounds to have a little kick, so hot sauce and cayenne win the prize.

Why We Love It: If you can’t tell, we’re a little obsessed with watermelon here at Camille Styles—and for good reason! It’s a true superstar that deserves to be celebrated. In this salad, watermelon is surrounded by cool cucumber, fresh mint, salty feta, and acidic lime to create something nothing short of magical. Serve this to guests before the main event to set the meal off on the right foot.

Hero Ingredient: Be sure to slap your mint before tearing it over this salad. It wakes up the flavor and amplifies the aroma.

Why We Love It: Another winning crudités recipe, this platter with green goddess dressing is easy to put together and even easier to enjoy. The entire tray takes about ten minutes to assemble. You can prep all of the veggies ahead of time (bell peppers are my personal favorite), as well as that gorgeous dressing. I recommend whipping up a little extra green goddess for week-long salad dressing and veggie dipping.

Hero Ingredient: A few capers in the dressing bring a salty, briny flavor to the mix.

Bitter Greens, Citrus, and Prosciutto Salad

Why We Love It: This isn’t your traditional lettuce-packed salad. Bright citrus flavors make for a bowl of excitement, complemented by a bit of salty prosciutto. Unique salads are something we strive to put on every table, and this might be one of our all-time favorites.

Hero Ingredient: I would have never thought to put prosciutto in my salad, but I can’t say I don’t love it.

Dips and Spreads

Ricotta with Pears and Honeyed Pistachios

Why We Love It: Any recipe with ricotta and fresh fruit is bound to be a hit, and nothing gets more simple than this delicious board. The pistachios’ sweet nuttiness is beyond, hitting your palate with a nice bit of indulgent crunch.

Hero Ingredient: I’m a ricotta lover till I die.

Summer Cheese Board

Why We Love It: I’m sorry to say that plain old cheddar cheese just won’t cut it for this elevated summer cheese board. (No hate!) Charcuterie-ing during the summer is all about choosing seasonal fruits and flowers, as well as meats and cheese that can withstand the heat of the season.

Hero Ingredient: A charcuterie board isn’t complete without a freshly sliced baguette.

Why We Love It: A hummus packed with plant-based freshness and nutrition? Sign me up. This carrot turmeric hummus will have you and your guests glowing from the inside out. Turmeric keeps inflammation at bay, while carrots boost bone strength and keep blood sugar under control. Surround that foolproof formula with garlic, lemon juice, mint leaves, and sunflower seeds, and voilà. You’ve got a winning appetizer for any event.

Hero Ingredient: Sumac joins the party and brings its tart, fruity flavor profile to the forefront of this tasty dip.

Why We Love It: A cool citrus yogurt dip helps kick off a meal in style—especially when it’s seasoned with shallots, za’atar, and cilantro (and takes less than ten minutes to build!). Prep this dip the night before, so all that’s left to do is plate up some crackers, fresh veggies, pita, or roasted broccoli.

Hero Ingredient: Fresh-squeezed orange juice is key. It brightens up the entire dip and introduces a welcome acidity.

Why We Love It: On this list of easy make-ahead appetizers, dips might just take the cake—and this Peruvian carrot pesto is a real winner. It’s composed of cilantro, parsley, garlic, carrots, pumpkin seeds, and more, and makes the perfect pair for a cracker or veggie. Make this in advance, so all that’s left to do is surround it with accompaniments and enjoy!

Hero Ingredient: Red wine vinegar introduces just the right amount of acidity that keeps things light and complex.

Why We Love It: Another veggie-forward hummus, this recipe swaps carrots for squash and is a total home run. It’s incredibly simple to make, which makes party prep that much more hands-off. This straightforward recipe uses only four ingredients to create something so much more than the sum of its parts. Serve with anything from fluffy pita to crispy pita chips.

Hero Ingredient: Toasted pumpkin seeds bring the crunch to this smooth hummus that makes it complex, though it’s inherently simple.

Why We Love It: This appetizer is a total flavor bomb. Raw veggies meet light tzatziki for a satisfying combination you won’t want to miss. It’s like a deconstructed salad, which makes it perfect for conversation-filled mingling. The mint tzatziki is made of grated cucumber, Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon zest/juice, and chopped mint and is seriously drool-worthy. Plus, whipping up a little extra to have on hand is never a bad idea.

Hero Ingredient: Trust me, you won’t regret stirring up a little extra tzatziki. You can thin it out with a little olive oil for a zesty salad dressing, or keep it in the fridge for snacking.

Why We Love It: Raw carrot hummus is packed with plenty of fresh flavors that are joined by tahini’s creamy nuttiness. Avocado oil, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, za’atar, and parsley flavor this dip to perfection that’s waiting to be scooped up and savored. This hummus is a breeze to make ahead of time, store in the fridge, and pull out just before you’re ready to serve. Hosting made easy.

Hero Ingredient: The key to success is that crunchy za’atar. It’s herby, savory, and nutty, making it the perfect garnish for this savory hummus.

Toasts and Breads

Ricotta and Plum Bruschetta

Why We Love It: When it comes to serving something up quick, crostini-inspired breads are the first thing that comes to mind. With only five ingredients, this ricotta and plum bruschetta is the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

Hero Ingredient: Green onions are an unexpected crunch to this tasty toast.

Why We Love It: When it comes to easy make-ahead appetizers, bruschetta is king. You can prepare your bruschetta mixture ahead of time, chill it in the fridge, and pull it out when you’re ready to serve. When the time comes, all you have to do is toast some sourdough on the grill, assemble, and raise a toast to simplicity!

Hero Ingredient: I’m a huge fan of balsamic glaze on bruschetta. There’s nothing like a sweet/savory combo to set the mood for a meal.

Why We Love It: If you’ve never tried your hand at homemade bread, this focaccia is a great place to start. It’s easy enough for a blind try and foolproof enough to give you a big dose of confidence. Basically, this bread is totally beginner-friendly and will leave you feeling so impressed with yourself—something we can all get behind. Plus, bread always makes for a killer appetizer.

Hero Ingredient: Not only is the focaccia dough amazing itself, but it’s studded with an impressive lineup of toppings. We’re talking olives, red onion, rosemary, everything seasoning, garlic, red pepper flakes, and more. All of that drizzled with olive oil? Sheer perfection.

Why We Love It: Mushrooms aren’t just a superfood—they also make an excellent toast topping alongside creamy ricotta and vibrant lemon zest. These toasts are such an easy appetizer for you to make and for your guests to enjoy. You can make the mushroom mixture ahead of time, so all that’s left to do before your party is toast up some crusty bread, slather with ricotta, and spoon mushrooms over top. These toasts make a first-class sidekick to a crisp glass of white. However you slice it, these are toast-ally delicious (sorry, had to).

Hero Ingredient: The finishing touches are key. Flaky salt, lemon zest, and fresh parsley take these toasts to new heights.

Why We Love It: Consider thisxrf a love letter to burrata. Its creamy, cheesy goodness earns it a top spot on my list. In this toast, burrata is surrounded by mint pesto, pomegranate seeds, figs, and sweet/salty caramelized walnuts. I mean… yum. Everything can be made in advance, too, from the mint pesto to the caramelized walnuts. Simply toast up some bread, spread over the burrata, drizzle with pesto, and top with figs, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Then the only remaining challenge is trying not to fill up on these tasty toasts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Hero Ingredient: Make a big batch of those caramelized walnuts for a yogurt or ice cream topping, anytime snacking, or granola making. They keep for a week at room temp or up to a month in the freezer. If you have the bandwidth to make an extra serving, you’ll be glad you did.